Imran Riaz arrested for ‘breach of trust’

Salman Aslam
Thursday, Jun 13, 2024

LAHORE: Journalist Imran Riaz was arrested by the authorities at Allama Iqbal International Airport late Tuesday night.

Riaz was preparing to embark on a journey to Saudi Arabia to partake in the Hajj pilgrimage. The dramatic scene of his arrest, captured on video and widely circulated on social media, depicted Riaz donning an ihram, the traditional attire worn during the sacred pilgrimage.

Eyewitnesses said that plainclothesmen surrounded Riaz’s vehicle and swiftly took him into custody, confiscating cell phones from bystanders who attempted to capture the incident.

Subsequently, Riaz was brought before Judicial Magistrate Muhammad Kamran Zafar by the Nishtar Town police, where he faced allegations of breach of trust.

According to the FIR, Riaz stands accused of misappropriating funds totaling Rs0.25 billion, which he had borrowed from the complainant but failed to repay. The charges against him invoke Section 406 of the Pakistan Penal Code, about the punishment for criminal breach of trust.

During the hearing, the police sought a seven-day physical remand of Riaz to facilitate further investigation into the allegations.

However, Riaz’s lawyer Mian Ashfaq vehemently contested the accusations, labelling them as baseless. Ashfaq raised concerns about the credibility of the complainant, alleging his affiliation with a political figure.

“The complainant was an agent at Maryam Nawaz’s polling station,” asserted Ashfaq, insinuating potential political motives behind the charges against his client.

Following deliberations from both parties, the judge opted to reserve the verdict, signalling a prolonged legal battle ahead for Imran Riaz.